Before I went to Burning Man in 2007, I was reading on their eplaya forums and came across a post that talked about the philosophy of engaging in activities on the playa. The summary of the theory was that you should always say “yes” when asked to do something out there, unless the action would be ultimately harmful to yourself or someone else. This is an amazing concept to someone like me who really thinks through most of my decisions. While we were out there that year, I remember a guy coming up to one of my camp mates and asking her if he could kiss her. She didn’t even think twice, she said YES. I remember thinking she was bold and amazing, and I was ultimately grateful he didn’t ask me. My brain connected the two events, and ever since I’ve tried really hard to be a “yes” person. Why not say yes? What’s the worst that could really happen, other than an experience to add to my life? That camp mate probably never knew, but her “YES” changed me in a really big way and has constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone.
As a person who is a little bit of a homebody and has a little bit of an anxiety disorder, I sometimes talk myself out of things before there is even a chance to start. I’ve been doing a lot of work in the past few years to “feel the fear and do it anyway” and felt like I built up enough momentum to go ahead and make it my new year’s resolution for 2013. I’M GOING TO SAY YES in 2013!
Well, it’s already February and I feel like I’m doing an excellent job of sticking to my commitment. Want to see that movie, grab a drink or go for that walk? YES. Acro-yoga soon? Sure, I am clumsy as hell and not super passionate about yoga, but I bet it’s good for a laugh – YES. I just happened to be in San Diego when the Electric Run was going on this past weekend, and had nothing to do that night. Why not get dressed up in my black light friendly gear, load myself up with glow necklaces and walk 5k around an awesomely lit track for an hour? No reason I could think of, so of course I said yes, and it was fun! There are definitely worse ways to spend a Saturday night by yourself.
Saying “yes” to things has gotten a little out of control. I have suddenly found myself a member of the 2013 Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay Team in Training group embarking on the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe on June 2. “If you remove the single obstacle in my way to do this event, I will do this event…oh you removed the obstacle…then YES, I’m in.” I really didn’t have any reason to say no. So now, not only have I said yes to moving my body via cycle around Lake Tahoe for 100 Miles, I’ve agreed to raise money to fight those stupid blood cancers Leukemia and Lymphoma. That’s about one of the best reasons to say yes that I’ve ever had. Plus, it will jump start my socializing and get me exercising regularly. So yeah, all win here.
Tomorrow is my first ride. 14 miles. It only goes up from there. I think I’ve done about 5-6 miles in one stretch in my longest cruiser stint. There is currently a bike sitting outside my office with those pedals that you clip into. Can I just tell you how scared this clumsy girl is?! Before I can think about going 100 miles, I have to think about not falling over when I stop. I’m looking forward to the safety training and I’m glad I have a good helmet. I’d love to focus on the main part of this adventure, the part that involves not tumbling down the mountain into the lake while attached to the frame of my bike. In order to do that though, I really need help jump starting my fundraising. The best thing you can do right now is SAY YES to donating just $5 to finding a way of telling cancer to take a hike. If everyone I know says yes to giving just a little, then we can say yes to finding a cure for all those people struggling with Leukemia and Lymphoma.
I’m excited to see what happens this year. It has already been an incredible 5 weeks of freedom, adventures and fun and I can’t wait for what is next. I think this is my year…and I know I’m going to be so happy when I’m old and I look back on my life and realize how much richer my life was because I said yes to something other than my couch and television. I encourage you to also say yes next time you’re tentative – make your life a better story. (While you’re at it, let’s give someone else a chance to have that story too.)